Building a Great Church (Acts 1-8) – Mike Underhill
Sermon Preached on November 24, 2013
Notes & Scriptures
– Acts is the written history of the 1st century church
– The apostles fulfilling the vision of Jesus
– Acts is the blueprint of what God’s church needs to look like
– Starts after resurrection in 33 AD
– Establishes that Luke wrote this book
– Theophilus – means “friend of God” – so written to all disciples
– He wrote about what Jesus began to do and what he continued to do through the apostles
– Acts of the Holy Spirit
– Jesus resurrects and preaches about the Kingdom of God for 40 days
– “Ends of the Earth” was quoted in Old Testament 42 times
– Mentioned 6 times in New Testament
– Starts in Jerusalem and throughout acts it travels and reaches the end of the Earth
– Great church needs to focus on the “Great Commission” of God
1 – The Great Commission
– Jesus’ plan to save the world
– In our church today we have a Crown of Thorns project targeting planting churches all over the world
– Question to ask yourself: are you involved in this commission and is it your purpose also?
– Teaching others to obey everything (having mentors/disciplers in our lives to teach us)
– God is always the answer to our problems
– How would it be if our church alone had to carry the weight to reach the whole world?
2 – The Great Message
Acts 2:22-24; 29-35
– Peter had previously denied Jesus
– But now he stands before throngs of people and preaching them the message of the cross
– The resurrection proves that Jesus is the Messiah!
– If it is true (and it is) then everything in your life changes!
– All 11 faithful disciples went to their death (as well as their families) proclaiming the truth of Jesus and His resurrection
– No one would go to death over a lie!
– You can go to the tomb of all other religions’ prophets and their bones are still in the tomb (Buddah, Mohammed, Confuscuous, etc)… but Jesus’ tomb is empty!
3 – The Great Commitment
– Before this day there were 120 disciples … After this day, 3000 are added!
– Mark 3:21 – in Jesus’ early days of His ministry, His family persecuted Him
– But by continuing to devote to God unwaveringly, eventually His whole family was saved!
– The 3000 added were just as committed as the 120 disciples
– That 120 disciples saw some pruning….but through their unity and love changed the future of their church
– More and more women were added to their number (Acts 6:1-number were increasing)
– Both men and women baptized
– The gospel confined to spread everywhere
– See these examples of multiplying in disciples…
2 Timothy 3:12
– Church will be persecuted
– Your city is as open and your mouth is!
– Not persecuted everywhere, then you’re not preaching everywhere
Colossians 1:6; 21-23
– Do we really believe God will evangelize the world?
– All we need is the Bible to convert them … use only scriptures for any issue that people have.
– Disciples are experts at juggling life and making disciples
4 – Great Boldness
– Peter is incarcerated for preaching the word, but the church still grew
Acts 4:8-10; 32-37
– They were questioned about healing in Jesus name
– How bold are you?
5 – Great Power and Great Sacrifice
– How much are we really sacrificing to build the church?
– The call is to sacrifice, but not become legalistic
6 – Great Fear
– The church grows out of fear for God
– Fear of losing your relationship with God (losing touch with Him) not fear for the consequences of sin!
– We should fear the things, people, or circumstances that can separate us from God
– Without encouragement of one another, hearts grow hard
– Focus is to encourage … Not to point out others’ sins
– Fear of God
7 – Great Leadership
– Delegating the responsibilities of helping meet the needs
– If everyone in the church was like me, what kind of church would this be?